Comparative Clues

The Comparative Clues ESL activity is a version of Twenty Questions in which students can only use comparatives questions.

Students for Comparative Clues ESL Activity:2+Time for Comparative Clues ESL Activity:5-15 mins
Resources for Comparative Clues ESL Activity:

Students do this activity in pairs/small groups.

Give your students a vocabulary category, e.g. animals. You may want to elicit some useful adjectives for that vocabulary before the game.

  1. One student in each pair/group thinks of an item from the vocabulary category. The other student(s) in the pair/group have to guess what they are thinking of.
  2. However,  they can only ask questions using comparatives. For example; Is it bigger than a dog? Is it faster than a human? You can limit the responses to yes/no, or to make it easier, allow comparative responses too (e.g. No, but it’s bigger than a rabbit).
  3. When the item is guessed correctly the students switch roles. Optionally, you could also count the number of questions asked, with students only having a specified number to guess in (as in Twenty Questions).
Target Language

The Comparative Clues ESL activity is specifically designed for practising comparatives grammar with beginner or low intermediate students. As well as questions of the form Is it bigger than…? you could also encourage the form Is it as big as…?

It is easiest to play this game with animals vocabulary (using adjectives like big/small, fast/slow, dangerous, colourful, rare etc.).

If your students have a reasonable knowledge of geography though, countries is another good option (big/small, hot/cold, cheap/expensive, populated etc.). This could be a great cross-curricular activity with school-age kids.

As long as your students have a knowledge of the appropriate adjectives, other vocabulary categories such as food would also work.

For an activity to practise superlatives with students of a similar level, try Whats Top.

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